The Los Angeles Lakers have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, which places further pressure on president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka to make signings or trades this summer that will return the team to the promised land.
Fortunately, the Lakers will have more salary cap space at their disposal than any other team in the league. They are expected to chase after superstars like LeBron James and Paul George, and if they can sign both, the Lakers would quickly find themselves back in contention.
However, Pelinka is aware that the team needs to remain patient. While attending the NBA Draft Combine, Pelinka was asked about the dangers of feeling like a team is one player away from contending, and he explained that he is cognizant of that and believes the Lakers are building to becoming a championship team, via ESPN:
“I like to read great books. It’s just something I like to do when I’m on planes. You look at a story like “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and sometimes people say in that story revenge is a dish best served cold, so it takes time. You’ve got to show patience. You can’t just jump at the first shiny thing. We know we have to go to where the Lakers have been the last five years — not making the playoffs — to a playoff team. And then to a championship team. We’re on that path, and we’re going to get there.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Lakers won’t attempt to sign superstars this summer. On the contrary, they certainly will.
Pelinka’s comments just indicate that he isn’t going to panic and offer massive contracts to just anyone this summer in the hopes of instant gratification. Instead, the Lakers will take their time.
It wasn’t easy obtaining the cap space necessary to chase after a pair of superstars, and if the Lakers don’t happen to sign George and James, that space can still be preserved for future opportunities. Whether via trades or in free agency.
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